2013? It’s one of the good ones. The last few seasons have had their moments but have left me feeling more of a spectator than pillion. When you’re whipped up, in the moment, it’s magical and this year the two wheeled trickery has had me gasping and squeaking, on my feet and hollering at the box as if the boys can actually hear me. At the end of this month the show is coming to town and a weekend at Silverstone is your best opportunity to become a part of the theatre.
Enter the main players; Cal Crutchlow, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and rookie Marc Marquez.
Marquez has exceeded expectation. As I write this, pre Brno, the 20 year old from Cervera, Spain, has taken the last three victories on the bounce and is leading the Championship by 21 points. If you’ve followed his career, you perhaps won’t be surprised by this. At the age of 15 he hit the World stage and took the 125cc World Championship two years later. Last season he took the Moto2 title and fans have been looking forward to his arrival on the big stage, he hasn’t disappointed.
On track he’s aggressive, off track he is affable, slight and sports the kind of looks that could grace any ubiquitous boy band outfit. But it’s a potent combination and his undeniable natural talent on a bike make him ‘The’ talking point this season. As the season began under the floodlight dessert of Qatar, the Spaniard showed his intention and his bravery. After scrapping with Valentino Rossi (the Italian looking to make his comeback after two years in the Ducati wilderness) Marquez bagged himself a podium, but it was the next race that really set tongues wagging. He was imperious. Topping the Texas time sheets he became the youngest ever pole and race winner in the premier class. He was just 20 years, 2 months and 5 days old. He took the honour from ‘Fast’ Freddie Spencer, whom I saw at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. He said that he didn’t mind losing the accolade to Marc… I think I believed him!
The Spaniard is the real deal, he has been consistent, at times controversial (see the move on Lorenzo in Jerez) and occasionally bionic, riding with two fractures in Assen, but in no way is this season over. Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa have been hampered by injuries, both showing heroic spirit to ride through unimaginable pain barriers. Tunnel vision to compete under any circumstance to save points and protect their championship hopes, each race a building block to the final showdown. That is their life; everything else is just a blot on the landscape.
Cal Crutchlow has been a revelation. Another fearless contender putting everything on the line under the Union flag. A huge hit with the British fans, he awaits his first win. Four podiums this season make it his strongest so far. Last year, he converted negative to a positive at Silverstone when, from the back of the grid with a broken ankle, he managed to finish a highly creditable 6th place. No-one will want to win this one more than Cal; imagine his first top step on home soil? There are plenty of other Brits to cheer on too, including Bradley Smith and the brilliant Scott Redding who is currently leading Moto2 and is pretty special around the Silverstone track.
Valentino Rossi has powered up the super-troopers and the show has been magnificent. He looks relaxed and his boyish charm and infectious sense of humour is a welcome return. He seems more comfortable on the bike and already he has taken a win at Assen. For many, this was emotional. To see the man, who for so many years was MotoGP, first past the chequered flag certainly made my eyes sting. Global Superstars are a rarity and Vale may well be thinking about his next chapter. However I, for one, hope there will be more victorious celebrations first.
The mix is intoxicating. Pedrosa has two wins, Lorenzo three and both are pretty much back to full strength. Marquez leads the way. I have a feeling that this year’s British Grand Prix could be epic, great to be able to watch it on the Beeb, but better to be there to revel in the party atmosphere. Fingers crossed for good weather, perfect to watch those stars shine.
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